H&M BRINGS HOME COLLECTION TO 16TH STREET MALL STORE

THE ONLY OTHER U.S. H&M HOME STORES ARE FOUND IN THE FRENCH QUARTER, NEWBURY STREET, GEORGETOWN AND NEW YORK CITY

By Emilie Rusch
The Denver Post

Posted: 10/29/2015 12:14:44 PM MDT

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 29: H&M has opened a new Home section at it's 16th Street Mall store in Denver. Shoppers flow into the store as it opened on Thursday, October 29, 2015. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 29: H&M has opened a new Home section at it’s 16th Street Mall store in Denver. Shoppers flow into the store as it opened on Thursday, October 29, 2015. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post)

Denver’s hot retail market got another high-profile boost Thursday morning with the grand re-opening of H&M’s flagship store on the 16th Street Mall.

The Swedish fast-fashion retailer unveiled its expanded 31,000-square-foot Denver Pavilions store, fresh with a new, third floor of shopping and the brand’s exclusive home-goods collection.

Denver’s is just the sixth store in the U.S. to carry the H&M Home line, which features bedroom, bath, kitchen and other household accessories, according to an H&M spokesman.

“We are in terrific company,” said Mark Sidell, president of Pavilions’ owner Gart Properties. “There are two of these stores in our biggest city, New York, there’s one on Boston’s Newbury Street and there’s one in the Georgetown neighborhood of D.C. These are retail gems — to be in that category is really a special thing.”

The fifth H&M Home store is in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

“H&M always looks to choose the best locations for departments and lines in order to meet the needs of our customers,” company spokesman Patrick Shaner said.

Pavilions officials, for their part, have hoped H&M would expand to the shopping center’s third floor ever since it convinced the Swedish retailer to take over the former Niketown space for its first Colorado location in 2011, Sidell said.

“In the beginning, we talked to them about taking the entire space,” Sidell said.

The 10,000-square-foot expansion cements the store’s status as the Denver H&M flagship, he said.

H&M is now the Pavilions’ second largest retailer in terms of square footage, trailing only Forever 21’s 32,000 square feet. It is also the first retailer to operate on all three stories of the Pavilions. (When Niketown leased the space, only the lower two levels were open to the public.)

“It’s consistent with their vision from the beginning, a vision we embrace, that the place to locate your flagship store in Colorado is in downtown Denver,” Sidell said. “It’s their highest sales volume and best-performing store in the market.”

H&M Home is the latest in a series of first-to-market scores for the downtown shopping center.

Barnes & Noble announced earlier this month it would close at the end of the year, paving the way for Japanese casual wear company Uniqlo to open its first store in Colorado — and second U.S. location outside the coasts — in 2016.

In September, Henry’s Tavern brought its beer-focused concept to the long-vacant Virgin Megastore storefront, only the second Henry’s outside the Pacific Northwest.

That H&M chose the Pavilions for its Home collection speaks volumes to downtown Denver’s transformation into a place where people not only work and play but also live, Downtown Denver Partnership CEO Tami Door said.

Since 2010, more than 5,500 new residential units have been built or are under construction in the downtown area, according to the partnership.

“Twenty-five percent of downtown residents do not own a car,” Door said. “Having access to a home collection near your place of residence when you don’t have a car is incredibly valuable.”

H&M’s investment should serve as a “great economic development message,” as well, she said.

“There’s absolutely an opportunity there for more home-goods retailers,” Door said. “With the growing number of residents, that market is going to increase. Downtown residents and center-city residents definitely have the income levels to support a home goods retailer.”

Emilie Rusch: 303-954-2457, erusch@denverpost.com or @emilierusch